Interesting that @x4GY has only tweeted 20 times and yet I found one of those tweets very much worth quoting.
“It may not be possible to be 100% better than your competition but you can be 1% better in 100 ways.”
Even though I am pretty darn far from Gen Y (far enough that I still say “darn” on occasion), that statement describes my last week or so pretty well.
I spent two days improving just one option for learning one skill in one game, that is, memorizing your multiplication tables. In addition to being able to do timed “math minute” quizzes, memory games and making a multiplication table we now have The Multiplication Dog.
Last week, I spent several days making the introductory levels to Fish Lake and Spirit Lake more fun. These levels are mostly just to teach how to use the controls, X to shoot, space bar to jump, arrow keys to move. Teachers in our earliest beta tests had asked for this so that students didn’t interrupt their teaching to ask how to play the game.
So why did I spend a couple of days making the buffalo run around at random instead of just stand there, adding gravity, putting in some hills and changing the graphics to more “life-like” grass and clouds? Because children won’t learn from a game they won’t play.
Here at 7 Generation Games, like any start-up, life is a trade-off every day. It’s true that most founders, particularly technical ones, spend far too long developing a product before going out to meet investors, releasing it on the market. I don’t think we’re like that. Our earliest version of Spirit Lake: The Game had a long way to go and it is by releasing an alpha version and then a beta one we were able to get valuable feedback to make the changes we did. Also, having a thousand beta users no doubt made us feel a lot more time pressure to get fixes done.
On the other hand, we really want to make cool stuff, not only because kids will play more and learn more if we do, but also because we want to make cool stuff and not churn out garbage.
On the other, other hand (that’s three hands, now), you can take that so far that you end up with one perfect game level by the time you run out of money for development.
We’ll have a new release – Spirit Lake 3.0 – out in a few weeks. I can’t wait for our current users to see it. As always, if you purchase a copy now you will get 3.0 and all future releases at no cost, including The Multiplication Dog.